The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice is proud to be involved with the new project ‘Active Communities Restoring Earth’ (ACRE), which was launched by the ‘Dialogue For Diversity’ programme based in Armagh.
This project was established with the recognition of the overarching importance of the climate and biodiversity crisis and its impact on every aspect of society but especially vulnerable communities. It represents an opportunity for marginalised communities to actively improve their local environment and work towards a common goal of reducing their impact on the climate through an integral ecology approach. The long term aims of the project are to: reduce carbon emissions by the community, increase biodiversity in the local area, empower local communities to engage in ecological and justice issues and contribute to social justice and inclusion.
The ACRE Project also reflects our individual and collective responsibility to care for the earth, our common home, which Pope Francis highlighted in his 2015 document, Laudato Si’. Community level projects and activity are vitally important within the ecological movement, this is where work on the ground gets done, allowing communities to create change, and improve their own situation.
“The existing world order proves powerless to assume its responsibilities, local individuals and groups can make a real difference. They are able to instil a greater sense of responsibility, a strong sense of community, a readiness to protect others, a spirit of creativity and a deep love for the land.” (LS179)
Mighty oaks from little acorns grow
On Saturday 21st November, the ACRE Project came together to construct a Bug Hotel in the grounds of its community house in Mullacreevie Park, Co. Armagh.
Approximately a dozen children and four parents gathered in the garden of the house and built the hotel using pallets, bamboo, bricks, old flower pots, corrugated cardboard, rotten wood, sticks and twigs. The hotel is due to be fully rain-proofed shortly when a piece of roofing felt will be laid over the top of the premises. To create a truly luxurious accommodation option for the critters of Armagh, the plan is to then build a “roof-top garden” planting flowers which will attract bees and butterflies.
Engaging communities and kids, fostering a respect and interest in nature catalyses an ecological conversion which Pope Francis has called for in Laudato Si’. This “entails a loving awareness that we are not disconnected from the rest of creatures, but joined in a splendid universal communion” (LS220).
Harnessing the community spirit to build something that is good, new and different is a huge step for ACRE. It is from small projects like bug hotels, truly transformative ecological projects can emerge.